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What Is Irony? (Definition with Examples)

What Is Irony? (Definition with Examples)

Irony is the use of an expression (often delivered sarcastically or humorously) to express the opposite of its literal meaning. This is known as verbal irony. It is a synonym for sarcasm.

Verbal irony is not the same as situational irony. In situational irony, an event occurs which is seemingly in mockery of the circumstances.

Examples of Irony (Verbal)

Here are some examples of verbal irony:
  • That is just what I needed. (i.e., It isn't.)
  • I am so glad it has started raining. (i.e., I'm not.)

Examples of Irony (Situational)

Situational irony occurs when an event occurs seemingly in mockery of the circumstances. For example:
  • James Bellamy, who has campaigned for years against the Dangerous Dogs Act, was hospitalised after a vicious attack by his neighbour's dog.
  • Mr Paul Jones arrived too late to chair a town-planning meeting due to the roads being grid locked with traffic.